Last week, I had the opportunity to interview DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFL Player's Association.
I found him to be down-to-earth but definitely on point when it came to discussing the labor negotiations with the NFL. It's safe to say he knows his opponent well and is a very good speaker.
Our conversation included a lot of different topics: What's the NFLPA's number one, can't-budge-on issue? Where do retired players fit in? What's his first year in office been like?
Here's an interesting quote from Smith that's relevant to you all because, well, you're fans.
For us, look, we wouldn't be anywhere without our fans. It is important for me, as the head of the organization, to impress upon our players that the last group of people we could ever take for granted are the people who not only love our game but have really been the backbone of our game. Football has grown because of, I think, that family connection.
It's funny, there's not a town you go into where fans don't have a personal feel of ownership or connection to their team. I talked to the Panthers and I said, 'You guys understand when fans talk about the Panthers, they talk about their team. 'It's my team'.' There isn't a sort of disconnect they would have with, let's say, your favorite restaurant or the place you buy clothes. There's an ownership and personal connection to your team.